SDWG Goes to AWP 2013
Boston was filled to the brim with writers last week. The annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2013 Conference (AWP) attracted over 11,000 authors. Straw Dog Founding Members, Patricia Lee Lewis, Ellen Meeropol, and Jacqueline Sheehan were invited to offer a presentation in which they shared their wisdom about the nuts and bolts of creating “a literary hub for writers, readers, and literature-lovers in Western Massachusetts.”
Twenty-five men and women participated in the late afternoon session. They traveled from all parts of the country, including: Texas, Louisiana, the Catskill Mountains, and the least populated county in Maine. The room was quiet as Patricia, Ellie, and Jacqueline shared the short history of Straw Dog, the legal and administrative details of becoming a non-profit organization, and the need to say “thank-you for all you do” every so often to their colleagues.
The audience was not silent for long. They asked many questions – about finding money, writing bylaws, and bridging the physical miles between authors. They shared ideas: a local writing center where high school students can get feedback on their college essays; an open mike night that includes oral history along with poetry; and a literary pub-crawl. And they shared their passion to connect as writers, and harness the power of writing to heal communities.